Underbelly: articles

TV tale 'a crime'

A FORMER undercover detective has joined colourful businessman Mick Gatto in giving Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities a serve over its depiction of gang-related crime.

Gatto was fuming when he realised he was portrayed in a scene that is clearly fictional - being mentioned as a prospective hitman for anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay.

Now ex-policeman Damian Marrett claims scenes involving the Griffith mafia are misleading and incorrect. Marrett's undercover operation helped bust the kingpins of the Griffith mafia, including Ross Trimbole, nephew of crime boss Robert Trimbole.

He says he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw in the premiere of Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities a scene remarkably similar to one explained in his crime book, Undercover.

Viewers will see double when Marrett's real-life saga is re-enacted for Channel 7 documentary Gangs of Oz tomorrow night.

In Gangs of Oz, a terrified Marrett, who believes his cover has been blown and he's about to be killed, is taken to Ross Trimbole's Griffith orange orchard and asked to look under a tree - where a stash of marijuana has been placed.

An almost identical scene was in Underbelly, only the character names were Robert Trimbole and Terry Clark.

"I was watching it and thought, 'This is unbelievable'," Marrett, 42, said.

"The orange grove scene was taken straight from my book, Undercover, and it really p****s me off.

"I emailed Screentime Australia (Underbelly producers) last year to see if they wanted extra consultancy but I never heard a thing, and now they've blatantly taken this scene straight from my book because it's powerful. I'm unhappy this goes on. It's messy.

"The public don't know the ins and outs. The people in the Underbelly scene are both dead so I don't know who told them it happened because it obviously didn't.

"I'm still living and I know what happened."

Screentime Australia executive director Des Monaghan dismissed the backlash.

"There's a lot of evidence that Clark and Trimbole worked together," he said.

"We go to great lengths to get it right."

By Erin McWhirter and Darren Devlyn
February 17, 2009
Herald Sun